Rejected strip ideas

In an interview Bill Holbrook, the creator of Kevin and Kell, one of the oldest still existing webcomics, gave the following answer to the question “What would you say to a young person out to follow in your footsteps?”:

When I was 23, Charles Schulz gave me the following advice: Sit down and draw fifty strips. Of those, maybe five will be funny. Build on those and throw out the rest. Do fifty more. Now perhaps ten will be usable. Repeat this process again and again.

Other cartoonists have said similar things which surprises me because I follow a completely different approach. I prefer to work on a particular idea until it’s good enough for publication. My ratio of rejected strip ideas, which are then moved to a document called Sandra and Woo Trash.odt, is rather one third instead of nine tenths. I’m often working a long time on details like the exact phrasing of the punchline, but I stick to the general idea. I guess there isn’t just one way of doing it and working together with an artist forces you to pay great attention to detail from the start.

– Novil

Comments and the first storyline featuring Larisa

I am a bit baffled that even simple strips like the last two ones seem to constantly get more than 20 comments now. I’m feeling a lot of pressure to get everything right in my scripts since I know that every detail in the next strip will instantly get dissected by several enthusiastic readers. This does not mean that you should stop writing comments, but I can’t say that I’m feeling relaxed when I am reading them. And this despite the fact that almost all feedback to Sandra and Woo has been positive so far… I guess when you are such an introverted person like me you really have to take care to not get overwhelmed by the reaction of the public to your work. This means that I will no longer read all the comments posted on our website in the future, but only have a look at them occasionally. I hope that there are now enough readers so that one of them will be able to answer open questions when I’m not around. Since my mother really likes to read the comments, she will notice me when someone posts spam or inappropriate content.

Having said that, the first long storyline featuring Sandra’s friend Larisa will start next Monday. And it won’t start with a whimper, but with a bang.

– Novil


I wish I were the first one to come up with this catchphrase. I would certainly not bet against that at least one major Western country will develop into a full-fledged dictatorship during the next twenty years. Politicians in practically all countries of the world seem to take every chance they get to introduce new surveillance laws or ridiculous bans. The sad thing is that only a small minority is actually concerned about this development.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the current president of the eurozone and one of the most influential European politicians, gave the following insight how the politics of the EU really works in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel in 1999:

“We decide something, put it on the table and wait some time if something happens. If there is no huge fuss about it and no uprising – because most people don’t have any idea what the decision is all about – we just keep going. Step by step. Until there is no way back.”

Truly a noble defender of democracy.

Comic strip tips

Some new tips for comic strips which are worth a look:

  • My Cage by Melissa DeJesus and Ed Power is one of the best syndicated comic strips. Ed Power described it as “the comic strip for everyone who has ever felt like a platypus in a world of cats and dogs.” The lead character Norman dreams of being a famous writer, but is currently stuck in a draining job and has to deal with his whacky co-workers.
  • The distinctive feature of Lio by Mark Tatulli is that it does not contain any kind of dialog most of the time. The main character of the comic strip is the young boy Lio who is often seen hugging his hideous pet monsters or playing dangerous tricks on his father. It’s often surprising to see such dark humor in a syndicated newspaper strip.
  • Union of Heroes by Arne Schulenberg and Eric Wünsche is a slice-of-life photonovel which takes place in the Ruhr Area of Germany in an alternative universe in which superheroes are common. Despite this description, the comic does not suck 😉 but is an enjoyable read. The comic is currently celebrating its one year anniversary, by the way.

Say “No!” to HR 669

Rick Griffin, the creator of the webcomic Housepets!, has written an interesting article about the proposed U.S. bill HR 669 which seeks to ban all non-native species from the United States. If you live in the U.S. and think that banning hamsters might not really stimulate the economy, don’t want to have another personal right taken away by the nanny state, or oppose the conviction of a static nature whose current state has to be preserved at all costs, the website NO HR 669 offers more information how you can get active against the bill.